America is still a young nation of immigrants, struggling to maintain a government based on a political democracy, which set aside the traditional form of tribal governments based on an intimate relationship with the land. This democracy allows rich bankers to control the media.
During the entire 2004 presidential elections, including the debates on television, neither the media nor the candidates made reference to issues that are relevant to American Indian tribes when addressing the American people. (If I am wrong about this, it is because nothing was said in any significant way.) Yet these issues are relevant to all American citizens. Some candidates did include Indian Affairs on their websites and met separately with tribal leaders.
But such acts could be thought of as platitudes, because the candidates were otherwise silent on tribal issues when they spoke directly to the American public. Tribal affairs were never a part of the national agenda.
In his keynote address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama said: “There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America,” a statement that drew cheers.
Why didn't Obama mention Native America? It is because in the mind of many Americans the American Indian has disappeared. This is one of the insidious aspects about the notion of “One America.” Politicians speak as if referring to Indians, America's First People, is like mentioning a relic of the past. Look for the words “once” and “great” in the rhetoric often expressed in patriotic language: “This great land once belonged to the American Indian.” “Great nations once roamed the American West”. But after these “once great” people have been cleared away like brush, the past seems to vanish and in false humility someone expresses regret for past wrongs, then portrays a grand new vision of unity among all people. In this vision, only the present and the future are important; everyone belongs and shares a common origin: the founding fathers, the flag, the defining documents—all belonging to One People who share a common beginning. No one is excluded but everyone must now march in step; everyone must conform. And anyone claiming uniqueness will be ostracized for being different and severely criticized for being "divisive."
The concept of a homogeneous humanity reflects an erroneous view of nature and a violation of Creator’s purpose for humanity. One consequence of this fundamental error is to disregard, and thus fail to apply, the wisdom and knowledge that have been accumulated by Native societies as the result of living close to their environments for millennia.
To read more of my views on different issues, link to my website: http://myweb.cableone.net/phil-duran.
As we begin a new cycle of presidential campaigning, it should be obvious to everyone that the media virtually decides for us who will be the top candidates because the media focuses on certain personalities and blocks out others. They are blocking out Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich and placing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before the American public. Except for the fact that Obama is black and Clinton is a woman, one has to wonder why they are favored to the exclusion of the others; i.e. why merit is not important.
I was a Kucinich supporter in 2004 and I'm still on the mailing list. The media are again misrepresenting the facts. Please read the following letter from Kucinich, which states that Obama was wrongly credited for being the only Democratic candidate who opposes the Iraq war. It was Kucinich who led the effort in the House of Representatives against the Iraq invasion.
This week, Congress will have another great debate about Iraq. Unfortunately, Congress is going to be discussing a nonbinding resolution at a time when Congress ought to be taking a stand to cut off funds, to implement a plan - my plan, the 12-point plan to get out of Iraq.
But instead, Congress engages in these meaningless resolutions. We need the Congress to take a stand, but we also need presidential candidates to take a stand. As you know, I led the effort in the House of Representatives in 2002, in challenging the Bush Administration's march towards war. As you remember, among all the presidential candidates today, I not only voted against authorization, but I voted against each and every effort to try to fund the war. The only way we stop the war is stop the funding.
Yesterday, 60 Minutes had a show which credited Senator Obama with being the only Democratic presidential candidate who opposed the war. The fact is that Senator Obama wasn't in the Senate at the time, he didn't vote against the war, and the fact is that, as a Member of the Senate, he's voted eight times to fund the war.
Now, I can't say the media is always going to tell the truth. But it's important for you to fund this campaign, so we can get our message out. It's important for you to fund this campaign so I can challenge Senator Clinton, who, in voting for the war and voting to fund the war, now says that if she's elected President, she'll end the war immediately, and, if she had been President at the time, we wouldn't have gone to war.
Now think about it. The role of Congress is superior to the President when it comes to war-making power. The role of Congress is to give the President permission to go to war. The Democratic Senate could have stopped the war. Senator Clinton, Senator Edwards gave George Bush permission and, in effect, made it possible for the war to occur.
It's good that, now, everybody thinks the war is a bad idea. But the real question the American people are going to have to face is who had the clarity, who had the vision, who had the judgment to make the call at that time that the war was not supportable, that there was no evidence that merited a war.
I stand before you, not only as the only candidate who can say that, but as the one who is prepared to lead this nation forward in the cause of peace, in the cause of a world where we use diplomacy to solve our differences.
We're at the threshold of a war with Iran, right now. The same people who were buying the drumbeat for war against Iraq are basically buying into the necessity of challenging Iran aggressively.
We need a whole new approach, and I'm prepared to take it, with your help. So go to the website right now. Please contribute if you haven't already done so. And if you have, thank you, and help us more. Do everything you can to contact your friends. America doesn't have to be in the position it's in. We're going to lose our nation unless we stand up and assert that war is not inevitable, that peace is inevitable if we stay with the truth and if we insist that our public officials stand up for the American people.
We have so many things that we need in our country today. Our children need better education. American people need health care. We need to create jobs. We need to work on focusing on cleaning up our environment. But our entire domestic agenda is being shoved aside in favor of war mongering. This has to stop. And you can help stop it.
Go to the website right now. Make your contribution. I'll stand in there for you; I need you to stand there with me.
Dennis J Kucinich